Friday, June 02, 2006

when the cool kids take over....

Controlling the Famous
"Automatic City"
(The Militia Group)

Head Automatic
(Warner Bros/Cardboard City)

Ah, the ubiquitous nature of the hipster (or "people with awkwardly cropped haircuts"). Just when I thought that they could keep their penetrating ways out of the sacred grounds of hardcore and pop-punk...BAM! They thrust their idiotic presence in the genres and pretty much influenced an entire generation of kids to lose their minds and start humping any article of clothing with a unicorn. Unicorns are cool, but not that cool, ese.

Southern California-based label, The Militia Group, has hit somewhat of a stride in signing bands that people actually care about. Last fall they released an album by a great band called Fielding. Now they give us Controlling the Famous who's not nearly as great. Or good. Or anything positive, actually. They're quite terrible.

Even though the cover art for their debut "Automatic City" boasts "weird" artwork and unicorns, the music doesn't sound anything like the art would suggest (which would've been dance music). No, CTF sounds like the remnants of 90's/00's rock: Hoobastank, Vertical Horizon, etc. Every song has this really lame guitar lead and I just imagine the guitar player making this kind of face. As my friend Tamryn would say, "No good."

Unlike Controlling the Famous, New Yorkers Head Automatica boast an impressive line-up of hardcore superstars who've decided to make coked-out dance pop. Their debut "Decadance" was a surprise hit and they were able to put on some pretty entertaining live shows when singer Daryl Palumbo wasn't in the hospital.

Their new album, "Popaganda," doesn't really capture the fun of their last album. All the pop hooks are still in place, as is Palumbo's unique voice. But, for example, the single "Graduation Day" sounds a lot like a Third Eye Blind song, and it's a bit soon for a 3EB tribute band now, isn't it?

The rest of the album is a hit-or-miss affair. Anytime they try to recreate the mood of "Decadance" (like on "Laughing at You" or "Scandalous") they hit, but in other instances they miss. Badly.

Maybe with this two-tier failure, the hipsters will leave the pop-punk labels and the hardcore kids alone. Perhaps I can goad them with a real unicorn and a gram of blow. Then again, I don't really have that kind of money, so I guess I'll have to hate from the shadows.


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